Friday, February 26, 2010

When the weather's this good, not riding's a crime

Well, not just riding.
The great weather continues, and snow promised last week never materialzed.  Not so great for skiing, but the sled/dog sled trails have stayed very good to excellent.
Friday dawned clear and sunny, so a big ride in the backcountry beckoned.  Sadly, no other Pugsley could come out to romp, so it was a solo mission to Alligator Lake.  Alligator lake is one of those rides that, in the summer, are not really worth doing, although it is quite lovely.  Lots of mud holes negates the fun factor.  Winter is another matter.  A fantastic snowmobile/dog sled trail takes you right to the lake.  Its 25 Km in, with an elevation gain of ~ 1000'.

Right from the start, it was obvious that it was going to be a great ride.  Some sort of dog sled had been in ahead of me, and had laid down an amazingly smooth groove that made the riding like being on pavement.  It was that good.  

Once you hit Two Horse creek, its a long climb to the alpine, but keep that climb in mind for later...

Once I got up higher, it was obvious that there was heaps of snow about.  Not a bad view either.

This view is looking towards the North, there is a trail heading up that valley that connects to Fish Lake.  The trail was in and looked in great shape.  Next week??  It was pretty tempting to head that way and make a long day of it, but no one was expecting me out that way, so I decided to stay safe and keep to the plan.

Every great ride has some pushing.

Jet Fuel!

Basking in the spring sun.

Feeding Grey Jays is good karma.

The obligatory bike shot.

Looking home, and the great ride back.

The downhill parts were a hell of a lot of fun.  The big tires just ate it all up.  Yee-haw!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears......

Or not.
My buddy in Ontario sent me this picture of his encounter on his Sunday morning ride.
I've run into Bears, Moose, Wolves, Weasels, but Camels??

Now, is it a Bactrian or Dromedary?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

7 hours of Pugsley love on the Old Dawson Trail

The weather has been absolutely perfect for the past week; high pressure, no snow, and warm daytime temps.  Perfect for what?  Well, among other things, perfect for setting up the Old Dawson Trail portion of the Yukon Quest trail from Braeburn to the Takhini Hotsprings into a Pugsley friendly sport surface.
The Old Dawson Trail is a great 110Km ride in the summer, and in the winter, it can be pure hardpacked bliss.  And, you end up at a hotsprings.  How great is that?

So, with great conditions, we, being myself, Ross, Paul and Anthony packed up the beasts and with the help of a friendly shuttler, we headed to Braeburn.
4 Grey Pugsleys.  Nothing like individuality.

An absolutely stellar day.

This portion of the trail is also part of the Trans Canada Trail, an ambitous project which seems to be more geared to the moto crew, which is fine, as it has spin-offs for us as well.
Did I say stellar already?  I have been shooting with a Nikon P-5100 the last couple of years, and I must say I hate the thing.  I'm ready for a new camera.  I'm looking at the Canon S90 and the Lumix LX3.  Both small cameras that have lots of features for people want DSLR quality without the bulk.

The halfway point has a wee cabin for anyone to use.  A hippy killer in it gets it right toasty.  We stayed here for an hour as Ross felt the need to display his fire starting skills and melt some drinking water.
The cabin log.  Lots of bison hunters use it in the winter.
A whole lot of fat.

One trys to get artistic.
I just love the end of the day this time of year as the shadows lengthen, yet the sun will still be up for a while, and it has some warmth to it.
One starts dreaming of the beer and burger at this point.  However, the Hotsprings had a nasty surpise in store for us.  Restaurant closed!  Fortunately, Paul B. displaying remarkable foresight, brought along a six of Stella Artois.  It seemed appropriate to have a Belgian beer at the end of a big day of cycling.
107Km-7:10, more or less.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter riders are at the mercy of the trail builders.

Saturday morning was absolutely stellar, and I wanted to get some hours in on the Pugs, so we loaded up and headed out to our cabin at Annie lake, where Michelle and Kona could chill out enjoying the lovely day, and I could amuse myself on the endless dog sled and skidoo trails out that way.  Besides, I really wanted  to see if the trail up the Watson river to Rose lake was in, for a possible multi day trip later this spring.
Loading up.  The sled was full of food etc for the cabin.

Kona was pretty amped to come along, but given the number of mushers in the area, encounters with sled dogs can get messy.

Pretty awesome day for February.  Trail started out very well packed, but quickly deteriorated to s-l-o-w.

Not that I'm complaining, but dog sled trails fall far down the list of good winter riding conditions.  The brakes create soft grooves which tear up the snow and grab the front tire.  But its a dog sled trail, so what can you expect?  Beats not riding.
Finally got onto the Alligator Lake trail, which was very far up the list of good conditions.  Perfect in fact.
Made it out to where the Watson trail branches off, but the trail has not been used recently, and has several inches of unpacked snow on it.  I went a few hundred meters down it, but turned around.  It needs some traffic to get it rideable.

Lots of this on the way back..........
And this.........
Unfortunately, a musher had come along in the interim, and I was following fresh dog sled tracks on the Carbon Hill trail, which slowed things down a tad after the mach 1 conditions on the Alligator trail.
After 5 hours out, I made it back to the cabin where the wood stove was craning, and the beer was cool.
Some friends joined us later on, which made for a very pleasant Saturday.
Until next time..

Friday, February 12, 2010

G'day and welcome to my blog

Not that i'm breaking new ground or anything, as this blog thing is pretty well established, well, pretty much everywhere, but seeing as how i enjoy reading other folks blogs about what they are up to in the great outdoors, i figured i might as well make my own contribution of my and my friends capers.
I hope you enjoy it!
So, getting down to business.
A bike so ugly, only its owner could love it:

Ground breaking?  Hardly, but i've been ruminating over the whole fat bike thing for some time now, and i figured it was time to take the plunge.  I've certainly dabbled in the winter bikeing thing for years, and 29ers were a huge leap foreward (in my own humble opinion) in the technology, but man, the Pugsleys and her offspring are like comparing the Wright Bro.s rig to a turbine Otter.

Not-So-Old school on the Old Dawson Trail; January, 2005.
Anyway, the new Pugs got her first ride yesterday, and i am blown away by how well this thing does in snow.  Granted, you stay in the granny a lot, unless its rock hard.  Walking paths are the fastest, sled trails less so, and it climbs like a Wolverine with crampons, unless its soft, then your pushing.  But so what?  Like nite riding with lights; half the speed and twice the fun.  Or less than half the speed.  But still plenty fun.
Right, 'nuff said on fat bikes, that topic gets lots of coverage on the forums.
Some shots of Kavic (Wolverine in Inuq)

Nothing like a Pink CK headset to bring out the pimp in a feller....

The Surly Mr.Whirly cranks in 185 are pretty darn nice i gotta say.  Best of all, they are compatible with most external bearing BBs.

The Endos mounted on the Viscious Cycles Graceful Fat Shebas make a serious footprint.  Some Large Marge owners have expressed rim envy, but we'll leave that one alone.
So, introductions of the Kavic out of the way, we'll end this post.  I'll be taking it out tomorrow on the Watson River trail for a day trip to see how she likes it.